DSM5 to move Asperger’s Sydnrome under the umbrella of Autism

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Moves to move the diagnosis Asperger’s Sydnrome under the umbrella of Autism has caused a lot of anger in the Asperger’s Syndrome movement. Most wanted to keep their separate diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome because they think it doesn’t have the negative connotations of Autism while still providing them with the services, understanding and allowances they or their children need.

Well, it looks like they have lost their battle – the working group have proposed that Aspergers will removed from the DSM and “subsumed into an existing disorder: Autistic Disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorder)” (ref).  This may be a good thing for all involved. Here’s why…

First, if you are really autistic, or dealing with an severely autistic child, important resources aren’t diverted to those don’t need them nearly so much.

Second, people who want to have it both ways (resources without the shame) will need to look wider afield for the answer to their problems. And that answer is probably not in the domain of psychology or psychiatry – which incidentally are two very different fields.

Third, it is a reminder to people that they can’t adopt a diagnostic label and control how it is used and interpreted by others.

The thing that I have noticed in the discourse about Asperger’s Sydnrome over the last decade is how real public debate just doesn’t happen.

Parents of children with Asperger’s Syndrome, and “Aspie’s” themselves play the emotional blackmail card. They don’t allow for the possibility that you can debate the causes without dismissing their difficulties.

Journalists report on Asperger’s Sydnrome as though it is fact but it is just a theory with no scientific proof. It is far more dubious than climate change theory, yet while a climate change sceptic can get media coverage, an Asperger’s sceptic is a unfeeling social outcast. The climate change debate also includes comments about the motives and funding of those who advocate for either side. Why are Asperger’s Syndome advocates not exposed to the same public debate and scrutiny?

DSM-5, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used by health care professionals in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders. Its latest proposed diagnostic criteria for ASD and all other disorders are available on www.dsm5.org.

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